Activist/Artist LaToya Ruby Frazier Is the MLK Convocation Speaker at CWRU

Fri 1/18 @ 12:45PM

LaToya Ruby Frazier refers to herself as “visual artist, photographer, advocate.” She uses her work to comment on the inequities in society. Among the issues that have engaged her are segregated schools, the high rate of minority infant and maternal mortality in the U.S., the treatment of black children with disabilities, and the contaminated water crisis in Flint, Michigan. Yet, while her work is topical and frequently open in its demand for change and action, its grace, sincerity and passion are anything but heavy-handed.

“We cannot control the material circumstances of our birth, our families or our economic circumstances,” Frazier says in her press kit. “But in order to change society — to seed real change and cultural transformation, especially for the marginalized and the forgotten — we must change the picture we have of ourselves and our communities.”

She’s working on that. Just 36, she’s an associate professor at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, one of the country’s top art schools; her work has been exhibited in museums and galleries across the country as well as the Venice Biennale and the Whitney Biennial. And she’s been a MacArthur Fellow, among the many honors she’s won. Her 2015 book The Notion of Family looked at the impact of economic decline and racism on the black residents of small towns such as her native Braddock, Pennsylvania.

Frazier will be the headline speaker for Case Western Reserve University’s 2019 Martin Luther King Jr. Convocation at the Tinkham Veale Center’s ballroom.

“This year’s speaker inspires us to approach the celebration of Dr. King’s legacy from a new perspective — through the arts, through photography and through our stories about ourselves, our communities and our nation,” said Marilyn Sanders Mobley, CWRU’s vice president for Inclusion, Diversity and Equal Opportunity. “It has never been more important for all of us to explore how we show up in our stories and in the current struggle for justice and equality than it is now.”

Frazier’s talk is free and open to the public. Registration is requested here. A reception follows the talk.

LaToya Ruby Frazier



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